Ghost Stories and Tall Tales of the American South

Shadow Snatchers: Kentucky Cave Witch Story

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Cautionary tale of a Kentucky cave used by witches to steal souls, through shadows! Written by Allen Kopp.

How many of us have ventured into a cave? It makes no difference if it was large or small. A cave is a hollow place in the ground, especially a natural underground space large enough for a human to enter. Caves are formed naturally by the weathering of rock and often extend deep underground.

Some are famously known, such as Mammoth Cave, in Kentucky, or Carlsbad Cavern in New Mexico. While others are still waiting to be discovered. And others will never be.

They can hold many secrets. Some yet to be revealed. Some we don’t want to know about, some mysterious. Some are used as burial places of lost civilizations.

I’m about to tell you of one such a cave. Its location must be kept a strict secret, for reasons I can not tell you. But, trust me this is more for your protection, than that of this particular cave.

As a youth my buddies and I often ventured into such a cave. We called it “Hollow Cave,” and like its name was located in a hollow, in an abandoned rock quarry. We found it quite by accident, as we frequently visited the old quarry, taking our lunch there and building fires to cook hot dogs.

This cave was behind the retirement home in Louisville, Kentucky, my hometown. More information than that I can not give, as the cave now sits on private property (as it did in my day, but there wasn’t a horde of people trying to find it as there would be today).

This cave ran to the more popular cave in Cave Hill Cemetery over a mile away. It is very treacherous with rockfall (from quarry blasting) and quicksand. You can probably squeeze by the tight spots. But unless you are prepared for the quicksand, you will be in trouble. It doesn’t look much different from the rest of the cave floor. It’s wet looking and sandy.

But once you’re in it, it’s too late and you are in big, big trouble.

I can tell you this – the cave did at one time have the exit everyone spoke about in Cave Hill Cemetery as a spring fed lake. You could see the cave and the spring waters flowing into the lake, some ten or twelve feet above the lakes surface, but you need some kind of boat to reach the entrance. The lake was probably some 25 acres and more than 20 feet deep. Too big to swim across. And we couldn’t sneak a boat past the guard at the gatehouse.

I can tell you this – what resides inside “this” cave, also has been documented in similar caves in other areas of the country.

And I’m sure you all want to know “what” dwells in the cave. It’s shadows.


Now we all know that in the damp, darkness of any cave, void of any “light,” natural or artificial, there can be no shadow – right?

Wrong! There are always shadows. They are everywhere. But without light no one can see them.

You see back in the early 1700s, when witchcraft was so prevalent, covens of witches were known to exist in many areas of this fledgling country. One of these covens was led by a Mary Smith (not her real name). She preformed a cemetery ceremony involving shadows. We do not know what exactly took place in that cemetery that night. But we do know two young girls went missing that night, never to be seen again.

There are documented cases of this happening in many places across the countryside.

I and a small group of trusted friends have spent many years investigating these happenings. We only know that it seems to be some type of curse that the “Countess,“ as Mary Smith referred to herself, placed on these young female victims.

It seems that she conjured up a spell that stole the “shadow” from the victim, hiding it, the shadow, in the one place where it would never be found.

And as in Black Book of Curses, which was brought from the old country, and used by many of those who practice the darkness of witchcraft today, it says that a person can not exist without a shadow.

Now ask yourself where would be the one place shadows could be hidden and never found? Think! Where are the darkest places you could imagine? Like I asked in the beginning of our story, how many of you ever experienced a visit to a cave? Yes, a cave. What better place to hide shadows? A place that by nature is darker than dark.

There is only one obstacle. In the darkness you can not see the hidden shadows. And turning on a light of any type will not help. As soon as light emits onto a shadow, it ceases to be a shadow, and can no longer be seen. For a shadow to be a shadow, it must belong to someone. And these shadows, through witchcraft, have been stolen from victims who now roam the earth looking for another’s shadow. So beware, the shadow you see before you could be gone in a matter of seconds. And when your shadow is gone, death is very imminent. For without a shadow one can not exist.

And if you no longer exist,what happens to your mortal remains? And if as in many instances they are gone, the next question that plays in our “minds,” is did we ever really exist?

Our friends and families will remember that at one time, we did. But we become another statistic called a “missing person.” And eventually forgotten about.

Who are these Shadow Snatchers, we ask? We’ve all seen them.

They walk amongst us everyday and we pay no attention to them. We might even speak to them, and they to us. But be very cautious. As friendly as they seem, they are not. They are after one thing – your soul. And by snatching away your shadow, causing immediate non-existence of your very being, they establish true possession of the one thing they can not have while you are still alive – yes they now possess your very soul.

These creatures, and we need to call them creatures because that’s exactly what they are – creatures – are none other than witches. But not the “witch” from fairy tales or Disney movies. No these are beautiful, young, vivacious females. And we use the female gender rather than young girls or women, because there is no set age range. Some look as young as sixteen, whiles others look much older and still others even older. The truth being there is no way to know their exact age, as through witchery they conceal their true age. Their beauty is something that is not seen in movie stars, or fashion models.

And because of this beauty, we tend to trust them beyond our mortal range of comprehension.

To the point that we let them draw themselves to us, while we think the opposite, that we are the ones that feel we are drawing them to us.

But rest assured that they are only after one thing – your shadow. And when they have your shadow, they have your soul.

For when your shadow is gone, you cease to exist and your mortal soul which now has no ‘body’ to attach itself to is taken over by these witches.


It is because of their need to thrive that they draw from these souls of their victims, and not really needing to be burdened by the stolen shadows, again through witchcraft, they hide the shadows in a place where no one would ever be able to find them. In the depths and darkness of various caves.

Yes, caves. Caves that are void of any light, natural or artificial and are natural place where you want things to remain hidden from prying eyes.

If you have ever been in cave you will understand the theory of shadows. For as long as there is no light, no illumination of any kind, there can be no shadows. For a place to have shadows, no matter where, there must be some type of light source.

These caves, where the shadows of the forlorn have been cast, to be destined to remain there forever, are referred to as “Shad-O-Cavo.”

If you ever enter a Shad-O-Cavo, be extremely careful, for the shadows are there watching you and waiting for you to let your guard down. While they (the shadows) do not have the sense of sight and are not able to see you.

And, due to the darkness of the interior, you can not see them neither. These shadows of the lost can not see us as we understand sight. Shadows simply have no sense of sight. But they do have a unique way of knowing we are present.

You see the constant temperature inside of most caves is 55 degrees fahrenheit, and when the interior of a subterranean cavern is comprised by the invasion of humans, with an average body temperature of 98.6 degrees fahrenheit, these shadow creatures are able to feel the change in that temperature and sense something is present.

And while you are in this cave, as long as there is light, you will be safe. If the lights are ever turned off, that is when you could be in grave danger. In the darkness you will experience the movement of air around you. This is caused by the “movement” of the shadows of the lost and forever missing victims.

These unseen shadows (due to no emissions of light) are looking for a “new” body to which to attach themselves.

Historic cave entrance - Mammoth Cave Saltpeter Works, Mammoth Cave, Edmonson County, KY HAER KY,31-MAMCA,1-1

Once the new host body is taken over by the shadow, that body will start to reject the shadow’s being and the body will start to wither away, until only the soul is left. Now the Shadow Snatchers enter and claim the new soul, and all of its wealth of wisdom and knowledge from the “shadows” which are once again just that – shadows. Shadows that will remain hidden to us
normal humans. Until, yes until we, you or I venture into one of Shad-O-Cavos. Then it’s too late. We can’t even run. It’s too dark.

You just became the latest victim of these creatures know the world over as – Shadow Snatchers. Except you won’t be able to share this dilemma with anyone as you no longer exist. You don’t even know that this has happened to you. Are you dead? No, not in the medical terminology of death, as there is no body to associate your non-existence.

But you are in all knowledge – gone. No one will ever see you again, no one! Where do these unfortunate victims go? No one knows. It’s just that you are never seen again, ever.

Where do you go? No one knows. How can anyone ever make a qualified guess if you are gone? Never to have existed, ever.

So beware of when you might strike up a casual conversation with any beautiful and seemly friendly females, young or old. Be beware and be afraid, be very afraid.

Remember they have the mysterious, and magical power to be a “Shadow Snatcher.” And we, you and I, can do absolutely nothing about the situation at hand. Only be warned. And whatever you do remember this story. This was or is your only warning. Please whatever you do, do not ignore it, my friends.

Two of my dearest friends Joyce and William “Bill” Blake (not real names), laughed at this story in 2014, and disappeared from their home early on a Saturday morning in early June. Their front door was found standing open. Bed in the master bedroom was found as they had left it – unmade. Night clothes strewed across the bedroom floor. Water running in the shower.

Both of the family’s cars were parked in the two car garage, doors locked. Nothing was amiss. The trunks were likewise locked. Nothing was missing except my two friends, Joyce and Bill.

That was over two years ago. Neither had any siblings, making their disappearance harder to cope with as they had no one to champion their lives, or the fact that their lives, their disappearance was never really questioned by the authorities or anyone in the circle of “friends.”

No one from their church or the country club really looked for them. Both sets of parents were deceased. There were truly no close relatives. And the longer time passed the more obscure their lives became.

Everything points to the Blakes vanishing completely from the face of the earth.

Was this the work of Shadow Snatchers? I believe it was. Right after their disappearance, trained dogs, trained in cadaver search were brought in and they, the dogs, had a terrible time trying to pick up any scent of the young couple.

They picked up the scent in the master bedroom and followed it down the stairs to the front door and out onto the front porch. The dogs circled several times, but never left the porch. They went into the front yard, but not finding a trail, always returned to the porch. What this told the authorities, was that the Blakes never left the porch.

If they never left the porch, where did they go? They brought in a second team of dogs. But, they did no better than the first, finding absolutely nothing.

So please after you’ve read this story and lay it aside, saying “hog- wash” or “polycarp”. Please don’t take this lightly, please.

Take this as a very serious warning. As there other documentations of simple stories across the country. I could tell you many more stories like that of the Blakes. Stories like the Westons, the Herrpers, the Shelbys. The list goes on for ever.

And if you aren’t believers now – l don’t think more gruesome tales reflecting the same outcome will impress you or make you a better believer.

As for me and a lot of friends and acquaintances we are believers and we will always be more aware of the fairer sex, especially the exceptional beautiful female who makes you feel that you are the one who is the charmer.

That’s exactly the way they will play you – then it’s too late. First your shadow is taken, then your very soul. And that will be your final thought – I should had listened to the warning; if only I had listened!

-THE END-


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